MotoGP series organizer Dorna appears to be pursuing a new strategy in its agreements with TV broadcasters. Where previously, Dorna had been fixed on securing deals with free-to-air broadcasters, recent deals have seen them agree terms with pay-per-view channels, in pursuit of higher revenues.
Spain is the latest market to see this development. The existing deal with Telecinco has been blown open, with Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica taking over some of the broadcasting from Telecinco. Telecinco will show 9 races live, and a further 10 on a delayed schedule.
Meanwhile, Telefonica’s special digital channel Movistar TV will show all races live, complete with six extra camera angles which users can select, along similar lines to MotoGP.com’s online video streaming package.
The new deal has been reached as a result of Telecinco’s desire to reduce the amount it was spending on MotoGP, according to Spain’s leading daily newspaper El Pais.
The joint deal means that the contract sum of just over 20 million euros will be shared between Telecinco and Telefonica in the final year of Telecinco’s TV contract. Telefonica is expanding its broadcasting, with a focus on motorsports, having picked up rights to both the Formula One and MotoGP.
It is reminiscent of the deal struck in the UK with BT Sport. Both BT Sport and Movistar TV are broadcasting arms of large telecommunications companies, expanding their traditional services into the area of television.
The telecoms giants can afford to pay much larger sums for TV rights for sports, as the sports are used to sell their broadband services and expand their customer base.
Though the switch to pay-per-view platforms means losing a wider audience for MotoGP, the increased money on offer means that Dorna can invest more heavily in the championship, paying teams and riders more and improving TV coverage.
With MotoGP now on pay-per-view channels in Spain, Italy, and the UK, three major TV markets, this strategy is likely to be expanded.
All forms of sport are increasingly disappearing behind decoders, with broadcasters regarding sport as a premium entertainment product, which audiences are willing to pay for.